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Israel steps up Lebanon bombardments

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Israel steps up Lebanon bombardments

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Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon has spread to the Bekaa Valley to try to seal Lebanon’s eastern land border with Syria. Lebanese police say an Israeli missile has killed at least 15 civilians in the south. They were passengers in a van. A police spokesman said more may have been wounded as the vehicle was directly hit. Israeli aircraft have also continued to bomb Beirut’s southern suburbs, a stronghold for the Shi’ite Hizbollah group which kidnapped two Israeli soldiers earlier this week.

Israel has also targeted parts of northern Lebanon and Tyre in the south. What started as an Israeli bid to rescue two soldiers captured in a cross-border raid has rapidly widened into a war on Hizbollah, raising the prospect of open-ended military engagement in a country which its soldiers quit in 2000.

The chief of Israel’s army says it is sending “a message to Beirut and Lebanon that they swallowed a cancer that has to be regurgitated, and if not this country will pay a price as in the past.” The price so far has been the lives of more than 70 civilians. The bombings have also damaged fuel stations and bridges.